After two years of discussion on plans to build a government “super-complex” south of Santa Fe, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is seeking six more months to decide on the exact location.
The proposed site, known as Las Soleras, would include a stop for the Rail Runner commuter line from Albuquerque, along with residential and commercial development. The project, headed by developers John Mahoney and Skip Skarsgard, was chosen for the state office complex when Democrat Bill Richardson was governor. Martinez, a Republican who took office Jan. 1, wants to review the project before making a decision, officials said.
Martinez is considering sites on either side of the Rail Runner tracks. One reason more time is needed, officials said, is because a commuter train station has not been approved by the federal government.
The state’s Capitol Buildings Planning Commission last year approved $6 million for 20 acres in Las Soleras to be financed by bonds that were approved in 2009. The bonds would include $4 million of severance tax bonds and $2 million of general obligation bonds from the New Mexico Finance Authority.
Under the proposed deal, if land at the Las Soleras site is appraised at more than $20 per square foot, officials would swap state-owned land in another area to cover the difference.
Under legislation passed this year, the NMFA would issue up to $80 million of lease-purchase revenue bonds to finance the land acquisition and construction of the complex. The complex, which likely would be built in two phases, would house at least four agencies, including the Human Services Department.
The second phase of the Rail Runner serving Santa Fe opened in December 2008 as one of the signature projects under a bond program known as GRIP, or Gov. Richardson’s Investment Partnership. Santa Fe now has three rail stops, including one at the state capitol.
New Mexico’s severance tax bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and its GOs are rated Aaa. Standard & Poor’s rates the state AA-plus.